Recently, Graham Strong asked the question, “Do blogs work?”
It’s worth thinking over. There are millions of people out there seeking money through blogging – someway, somehow. They don’t seem to be generating much interest or income from their blogs, though.
Graham wrote, “James over at Men with Pens says he generates business from his blog. That, for many of us, is a great end result.” Yes, yes it is. I truly am grateful for what I’ve created. We could easily still be out there struggling to get a break.
But we didn’t get a break – we made our breaks, and that’s the difference. We used our blog as our gateway to building a business, and we seized every opportunity we could to make it work.
Blogging is an excellent way to start a solid career. But can blogging for business work for everyone?
Graham noted, “I can’t help but feel that most of us are sort of huddled in these little dark alleys across the Internet, quietly talking about writing amongst ourselves.”
This is a problem – and a big one. The problem isn’t with blogging per se, though. Rather, the problem is that people trying to build a business are huddled in those dark alleys. If you’re going to be the wallflower that never goes out on the town to party, get yourself a nice cardboard box and light a fire in the oil drum.
That dark alley is all you’ll ever know – unless you do something about bringing people to your blog.
The other day, a client of mine asked me, “Is it true, James? If I build it, will they come?” Mike had all his hopes and dreams in his hands, and he was asking me to be the voice in the cornfield. Many people believe the answer to, “Will they come?” is, “Yes.”
Unfortunately, the answer is clearly, “No.” The Internet is crowded. It’s rife with competition. Millions of sites and bloggers shove and compete for business. Some lucky ones make it big and touch a bit of fame. Most don’t.
There is one common issue that tends to appear time and again, though, with blogs failing to garner business: a lack of marketing.
I told Mike how the Internet works. You can build it, sure, and they will come, yes. But you have to go out and get them. You have to make them come.
You have to tack up signs, tell them where to go, pave the road, put up neon lights, set off flares, wave signals, put gas in their cars, offer refreshments, hand out road maps, and direct traffic like the ground crew of JFK International airport during rush hour.
Not only that, once people do come, you have to play tour guide and host. You have to make sure people stay. You have to ask them to go get Aunt Martha and Cousin Vinny – and then you have to get them to come back.
Graham wrote, “I’m not sure [a blog] is useful for attracting new clients.” He’s right. It isn’t. A blog is just a website that sits there. It doesn’t attract new clients in the least.
You do. So go out, find people, and bring them to your blog. Then you can start working on earning some business.